We are the member organizations of the Texas Agriculture Council. Collectively, our organizations represent a majority of the agricultural interests in the state ... from row crop and citrus, to forestry and ranching, from wildlife and farm animals to nursery and greenhouse production, from dairy and cattle feeding operations to swine and poultry, and from integrated pest management to soil and water conservation. The Texas agricultural industries are some of the most modern and progressive in the United States and the entire world.
Texas agriculture's humble beginnings go way back to a time when the Caddo Indians lived in established villages and depended upon food primarily from the cultivation of corn, beans, and squash with hunting and gathering to supplement the crops. Agricultural practices were soon transferred from Europe, Asia and Africa as immigrants began to arrive in the new world, and agriculture began to thrive. Livestock, including cattle, sheep, goat, and hogs were brought by the Spanish. Ranching, though, spread slowly since the Comanches, Apaches and other nomadic and warring Indian tribes dominated much of the land.
The agricultural industries began to grow over time. Ranches expanded, and the introduction of cotton to the state brought plantation farming. Cotton production rose greatly from 58,000 bales in 1850 to over 431,000 bales in 1860. Cotton became the primary export, with cattle second.
After its independence from Spain, Mexico began to encourage settlement in vast areas of land north of the Rio Grande River. The first settlers received about 4,338 acres of land for grazing and another 177 acres of farm land. American settlers quickly expanded agricultural practices in the new land that was to become Texas. After Texas became independent from Mexico and was admitted to the United States, agriculture entered another period of rapid growth. Great strides were made in advanced cultivation practices and mechanized agriculture grew. Improved plant varieties contributed to increased crop yields and increased cultivation. During the period of the Civil War most Texas farms, other than plantations, were subsistence family farms. These farms ranged in size from 120 to 160 acres.
As time progressed and decades slipped by, the Texas agricultural industries began to adapt to change in a changing world, but throughout it all the bond among those involved in agriculture remained strong. This strong bond gave rise to the creation of the Texas Agriculture Council where Texas agriculture comes to the table to discuss the important issues of the day. Today, the informal organization addresses a wide range of agricultural issues, and its members seek to be proactive in legislative and regulatory topics that pertain to agriculture.
You are encouraged to visit other areas of this web site to learn more about the Texas Agriculture Council and the industries that participate as members. The member organizations represent a strong and proud Texas agricultural legacy.